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5 more websites face R-J copyright lawsuits

Updated Thursday, July 8, 2010 | 2:39 p.m.

A website promoting sports gambling is among the latest to be sued for copyright infringement after Las Vegas Review-Journal stories allegedly were posted on the site.

Righthaven LLC, a copy that has partnered with the Review-Journal to file copyright infringement lawsuits, on Wednesday filed suit in federal court in Las Vegas against the Freaks Sports & Gambling Forum and an individual associated with its website, Thomas J. Finn IV.

This was one of five Righthaven lawsuits filed this week, bringing to 61 the number of Righthaven suits filed since March against website operators around the country.

The Freaks Sports suit alleges the website displayed a Feb. 19 Review-Journal story without authorization involving Harrah's Entertainment Inc.'s purchase of the Planet Hollywood resort; as well as a May 28 R-J story on Las Vegas Memorial Day weekend travel trends.

Court records indicate the R-J received partial credit for the Planet Hollywood story posted on the site, but the R-J received no credit for the Memorial Day story.

Righthaven attorneys, in seeking to establish jurisdiction of the Nevada court for the case, said in the suit that the defendants' contacts with Nevada are continuous and systematic because they post advertising on the website for at least seven sports wagering and gambling-related entities oriented to Las Vegas and that the defendants have revenue-sharing business relationships with these "gambling partners."

These alleged partners include BetOnline, BookMaker, DiamondSportsbook, Intertops, Sports Interaction, WagerWeb and RaiseandFold, the lawsuit says.

Also sued by Righthaven this week were:

--Howard Heys, who allegedly is the registrant of the website, which promotes jewelry sales. That site allegedly posted -- with partial credit to the R-J -- a story on Anita Mann, a 19-year-old woman arrested on drunken driving charges in a traffic accident that killed two people in Henderson on Feb. 16. The partial credit was the R-J reporter's contact information.

The site also allegedly posted, without authorization, an R-J story involving the Las Vegas Mob Museum. Again, the only credit to the R-J was the writer's contact information, court records show.

--Las Vegas real estate agent Joe Herrera and several co-defendants, accused of this year posting R-J real estate industry stories on Herrera's website Court records in the case indicate the R-J and its writers received full credit for three stories on Herrera's website that are at issue in the lawsuit.

Herrera says on his website he cofounded the Joe Taylor Group with Taylor Prince in 2005 and that it's a top-producing RE/MAX affiliate. The website says that this year, Herrera and Prince formed a partnership with Gavin Ernstone for a new real estate brokerage called Simply Vegas.

Ernstone is a codefendant in the case. Another codefendant is Omnia Alliance LLC, an Orem, Utah, company that Righthaven says is the registrar of the Internet domain name.

Omnia Alliance says on its website it creates custom websites and provides other marketing services.

Omnia Alliance says on its website: "Inside Real Estate is an advanced tool for both real estate agents and home buyers and sellers on the web. Inside real estate features expert agents and provides them with professional tools to benefit their clients. We created this network as such that through the blog articles and tools found on each real estate expert’s blog page, people are able to gain valuable knowledge and information from real estate agents in their local area."

--The Independent Political Report and Charles C. Martin, accused of this year posting R-J stories involving U.S. Senate candidate Scott Ashjian.

A look at the website on Thursday showed numerous Nevada political stories posted there, generally crediting the sources including the Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun.

--Odds On Recording Studios Inc. and officials associated with the Henderson company Walter B. Simmons II and Ted Joseph.

The defendants are accused of posting on the Odds On website a May 30 R-J column about Air Supply recording at Odds On -- a column that credited the R-J and quoted Joseph, the president of Odds On.

Messages for comment on the latest Righthaven lawsuits were left with the Freaks Sports, luxejewelryblogs, Independent Political Report, Odds On and Omnia Alliance sites; and with Herrera.

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